Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fisheries; Proposed 2021-2026 Fishing Quotas, 9901-9904 [2021-02984]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 30 / Wednesday, February 17, 2021 / Proposed Rules Federal Communications Commission. Marlene Dortch, Secretary. Proposed Rules For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 64 as follows: PART 64—MISCELLANEOUS RULES RELATING TO COMMON CARRIERS 1. Amend subpart HH by adding § 64.6308 to read as follows: ■ jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS § 64.6308 Review of Governance Authority decision to revoke an SPC token. (a) Parties permitted to seek review of Governance Authority decision. (1) Any intermediate provider or voice service provider aggrieved by a Governance Authority decision to revoke that intermediate provider or voice service provider’s Service Provider Code (SPC) token, must seek review from the Governance Authority and complete the appeals process established by the Governance Authority prior to seeking Commission review. (2) Any intermediate provider or voice service provider aggrieved by an action to revoke its SPC token taken by the Governance Authority, after exhausting the appeals process provided by the Governance Authority, may then seek review from the Commission, as set forth in this section. (b) Filing deadlines. (1) An intermediate provider or voice service provider requesting Commission review of a Governance Authority decision to revoke that intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token by the Commission, shall file such a request electronically in the designated Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) inbox within sixty days from the date the Governance Authority issues its final decision. (2) Parties shall adhere to the time periods for filing oppositions and replies set forth in § 1.45. (c) Filing requirements. (1) A request for review of a Governance Authority decision to revoke an intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token by the Commission shall be filed electronically in the designated ECFS inbox. The request for review shall be captioned ‘‘In the matter of Request for Review by (name of party seeking review) of Decision of the Governance Authority to Revoke an SPC Token.’’ (2) A request for review shall contain: (i) A statement setting forth the intermediate provider or voice service provider’s asserted basis for appealing the Governance Authority’s decision to revoke the SPC token; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:07 Feb 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 (ii) A full statement of relevant, material facts with supporting affidavits and documentation, including any background information the intermediate provider or voice service provider deems useful to the Commission’s review; and (iii) The question presented for review, with reference, where appropriate, to any underlying Commission rule or Governance Authority policy. (3) A copy of a request for review that is submitted to the Commission shall be served on the Governance Authority via sti-ga@atis.org or in accordance with any alternative delivery mechanism the Governance Authority may establish in its operating procedures. (d) Review by the Wireline Competition Bureau or the Commission. (1) Requests for review of a Governance Authority decision to revoke an intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token that are submitted to the Commission shall be considered and acted upon by the Wireline Competition Bureau, which shall issue a written decision; provided, however, that requests for review that raise novel questions of fact, law, or policy shall be considered by the full Commission. (2) An affected party may seek review of a decision issued under delegated authority by the Wireline Competition Bureau pursuant to the rules set forth in § 1.115. (e) Standard of review. (1) The Wireline Competition Bureau shall conduct de novo review of Governance Authority decisions to revoke an intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token. (2) The Commission shall conduct de novo review of Governance Authority decisions to revoke an intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token that involve novel questions of fact, law, or policy; provided, however, that the Commission shall not conduct de novo review of decisions issued by the Wireline Competition Bureau under delegated authority. (f) Status during pendency of a request for review and a Governance Authority decision. (1) When an intermediate provider or voice service provider has sought timely Commission review of a Governance Authority decision to revoke an intermediate provider or voice service provider’s SPC token under this section, the intermediate provider or voice service provider shall not be considered to be in violation of the Commission’s call authentication rules under § 64.6301 until and unless the Wireline Competition Bureau or the Commission, pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 9901 section, has upheld or otherwise decided not to overturn the Governance Authority’s decision. (2) In accordance with §§ 1.102(b) and 1.106(n), the effective date of any action pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section shall not be stayed absent order by the Wireline Competition Bureau or the Commission. [FR Doc. 2021–03043 Filed 2–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 210208–0016; RTID 0648– XX065] Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fisheries; Proposed 2021– 2026 Fishing Quotas National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes status quo commercial quotas for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries for 2021 and projected status quo quotas for 2022–2026. This action is necessary to establish allowable harvest levels of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs that will prevent overfishing and allow harvesting of optimum yield. This action would also continue to suspend the minimum shell size for Atlantic surfclams for the 2021 fishing year. The intended effect of this action is to provide benefit to the industry from stable quotas to maintain a consistent market. SUMMARY: Comments must be received by March 4, 2021. ADDRESSES: An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for the surfclam and ocean quahog specifications. Copies of the EA are available on request from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via the internet at https://www.mafmc.org. You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA–NMFS– 2020–0152, by the following method: DATES: E:\FR\FM\17FEP1.SGM 17FEP1 9902 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 30 / Wednesday, February 17, 2021 / Proposed Rules Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. 1. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20200152, 2. Click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and 3. Enter or attach your comments. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). If you are unable to submit your comment through www.regulations.gov, contact Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires that NMFS, in consultation with the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, set quotas for surfclam and ocean quahog for up to a 3-year period. It is the policy of the Council that the catch limit allow for sustainable fishing to continue at that level for at least 10 years for surfclams, and 30 years for ocean quahogs. The Council policy also considers the economic impact of the quotas. Regulations implementing Amendment 10 to the FMP (63 FR 27481; May 19, 1998) added Maine ocean quahogs (locally known as Maine mahogany quahogs) to the management unit and provided for a small artisanal fishery for ocean quahogs in the waters north of 43°50′ N lat. The Maine ocean quahog quota is allocated separately from the quota for the ocean quahog fishery. Regulations implementing Amendment 13 to the FMP (68 FR 69970; December 16, 2003) established the ability to propose multi-year quotas with an annual quota review to be conducted by the Council to determine if the multiyear quota specifications remain appropriate for each year. NMFS then publishes the annual final quotas in the Federal Register. The fishing quotas must ensure overfishing will not occur. In recommending these quotas, the Council considered the most recent stock assessments, conducted in June 2020, and other relevant scientific information. In August 2020, the Council voted to maintain status quo quota levels of 5.36 million bushels (bu); 285 million Liters (L) for the ocean quahog fishery, 3.40 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic surfclam fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L) for the Maine ocean quahog fishery for 2021–2026. The Council recommended that specifications be set for 2021 and proposed for years 2022–2026 to create administrative efficiencies as a result of the new stock assessment process, which is expected to assess surfclam and ocean quahog on a 4 and 6 year cycle, respectively. The regulations at 50 CFR 648.72(a) allow for setting of sections for up to 3 years. Through this action, we would only set 2021 specifications and include the projected specifications for 2022– 2026 to inform the public. The Council approved a regulatory change in the Excessive Shares Amendment that would allow us to set specifications for the maximum number of years needed to be consistent with the Northeast Region Coordinating Council-approved stock assessment schedule, which currently anticipates assessments for both stocks every 6 years. Although the FMP currently authorizes specifications to be set for multiple years, we are still required to publish a final rule each year to formally set the specifications for the coming year. We expect the timing change in the Amendment will be implemented within the next year, well before years 4 and 5 (fishing years 2025 and 2026) are finalized. However, if for some reason the Amendment is not approved, the Council would adopt new specifications for 2025 and 2026. The proposed and projected quotas for the 2021–2026 Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fishery are shown in Tables 1 and 2. TABLE 1—PROPOSED ATLANTIC SURFCLAM MEASURES 2021–2026 [2022–2026 Projected] Allowable biological catch (ABC) (mt) Year Annual catch limit (ACL) (mt) Annual catch target (ACT) (mt) Commercial quota Atlantic Surfclam 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................................................................... 47,919 44,522 42,237 40,946 40,345 40,264 47,919 44,522 42,237 40,946 40,345 40,264 29,363 29,363 29,363 29,363 29,363 29,363 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.4 3.4 million million million million million million bushels bushels bushels bushels bushels bushels (181 (181 (181 (181 (181 (181 million million million million million million L). L). L). L). L). L). TABLE 2—PROPOSED OCEAN QUAHOG MEASURES 2021–2026 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS [2022–2026 Projected] Allowable biological catch (ABC) (mt) Year 2021 ...................................................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:07 Feb 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Annual catch limit (ACL) (mt) 44,031 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 44,031 Sfmt 4702 Annual catch target (ACT) (mt) 25,924 Commercial quota Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L). E:\FR\FM\17FEP1.SGM 17FEP1 9903 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 30 / Wednesday, February 17, 2021 / Proposed Rules TABLE 2—PROPOSED OCEAN QUAHOG MEASURES 2021–2026—Continued [2022–2026 Projected] Allowable biological catch (ABC) (mt) Year Annual catch target (ACT) (mt) 2022 ...................................................................... 44,072 44,072 25,924 2023 ...................................................................... 44,082 44,082 25,924 2024 ...................................................................... 44,065 44,065 25,924 2025 ...................................................................... 44,020 44,020 25,924 2026 ...................................................................... 43,948 43,948 25,924 The Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog quotas are specified in ‘‘industry’’ bushels of 1.88 cube feet (ft3) (53.24 L) per bushel, while the Maine ocean quahog quota is specified in Maine bushels of 1.24 ft3 (35.24 L) per bushel. Because Maine ocean quahogs are the same species as ocean quahogs, both fisheries are assessed under the same overfishing definition. When the two quota amounts (ocean quahog and Maine ocean quahog) are added, the total allowable harvest is below the level that would result in overfishing for the entire stock. The 2021–2026 quotas are the same as those implemented in the 2018–2020 specifications. Surfclam The proposed 2021–2026 status quo surfclam quotas were developed after reviewing the results of the management track stock assessment for Atlantic surfclam, conducted in June 2020. The surfclam quota recommendation is consistent with the assessment finding that the Atlantic surfclam stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. Based on this information, the Council is recommending, and we are proposing, to maintain the status quo surfclam quota of 3.40 million bu (181 million L) for 2021–2026. Ocean Quahog jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Annual catch limit (ACL) (mt) As with surfclams, the proposed 2021–2026 status quo ocean quahog quotas were developed after reviewing the results of the management track stock assessment for ocean quahogs, conducted in June 2020. The ocean quahog quota is consistent with the assessment finding that the ocean quahog stock is not overfished, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:07 Feb 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 overfishing is not occurring. Consistent with the Council recommendation, we are proposing the following for ocean quahog. The proposed 2021–2026 nonMaine quota for ocean quahog is the status quo quota of 5.36 million bu (285 million L). The 2021–2026 proposed quota for Maine ocean quahogs is the status quo level of 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L), which represents the maximum allowable quota under the FMP. Surfclam Minimum Size In August 2020, the Council voted to recommend that the minimum size limit for surfclams continue to be suspended for 2021. The minimum size limit has been suspended annually since 2005. Minimum size suspension may not be taken unless discard, catch, and biological sampling data indicate that 30 percent or more of the Atlantic surfclam resource have a shell length less than 4.75 inches (120 millimeters (mm)), and the overall reduced size is not attributable to harvest from beds where growth of the individual clams has been reduced because of density-dependent factors. Commercial surfclam data for 2020 were analyzed to determine the percentage of surfclams that were smaller than the minimum size requirement. The analysis indicated that 11 percent of the overall commercial landings, to date, were composed of surfclams that were less than the 4.75inch (120-mm) default minimum size. Based on the information available, the Regional Administrator concurs with the Council’s recommendation, and is proposing to suspend the minimum size limit for Atlantic surfclams in the PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Commercial quota Maine quota: 100,000 Maine million L); Non-Maine quota: lion bu (285 million L). Maine quota: 100,000 Maine million L); Non-Maine quota: lion bu (285 million L). Maine quota: 100,000 Maine million L); Non-Maine quota: lion bu (285 million L). Maine quota: 100,000 Maine million L); Non-Maine quota: lion bu (285 million L). Maine quota: 100,000 Maine million L); Non-Maine quota: lion bu (285 million L). bu (3.52 5.36 milbu (3.52 5.36 milbu (3.52 5.36 milbu (3.52 5.36 milbu (3.52 5.36 mil- upcoming fishing year (January 1 through December 31, 2021). Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this certification is as follows. A complete description of the specifications, why they are being considered, and the legal basis for proposing and implementing specifications for the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries are contained in the preamble to this proposed rule. The measures proposed by this action apply to surfclam and ocean quahog allocation owners. These are the individuals or entities that received initial individual transferable quota (ITQ) allocations (i.e., owners of record) at the beginning of each fishing year. There were 64 allocation owners of record for surfclam and 33 for ocean quahog in 2019. Of the 64 initial surfclam allocation owners of record for 2019, 19 were categorized as ‘‘Commercial Fishing,’’ E:\FR\FM\17FEP1.SGM 17FEP1 9904 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 30 / Wednesday, February 17, 2021 / Proposed Rules jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS with 100 percent of them classified as small entities. Of the 9 allocation owners that were categorized as ‘‘Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers,’’ 1 was classified as a small entity (11 percent) and 8 were classified as large entities (89 percent). Eight allocations owners were categorized as ‘‘Commercial Banking,’’ 1 was classified as a small entity (12 percent), and 7 classified as large entities (88 percent). Six allocations were categorized as ‘‘Credit Unions,’’ with 100 percent of them classified as large entities. There were also 5 allocations categorized as ‘‘Sector 92’’ (Public Administration sector); therefore, small business size standards are not applicable for these 5 allocation owners. Lastly, the (SBA)classification for 17 surfclam allocation owners was unknown. Of the 33 initial ocean quahog allocation owners of record for 2019, 14 were categorized as ‘‘Commercial Fishing,’’ with 100 percent of them classified as small entities. Of the six allocation owners that were categorized as ‘‘Fish and Seafood Merchant VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:07 Feb 16, 2021 Jkt 253001 Wholesalers,’’ two were classified as small entities (33 percent) and 4 were classified as large entities (67 percent). One allocation owner was categorized as ‘‘Commercial Banking’’ and 1 categorized as ‘‘Credit Unions’’ with 100 percent of them classified as large entities. The SBA classification for the remaining allocations owners is unknown. The proposed quotas are status quo. As a result, this action will have no impacts on the way the fishery operates. These measures are expected to provide similar fishing opportunities when compared to earlier years. Additionally, the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries, including the Maine quahog fishery, have harvested well below their respective quota allocations for several years. As such, revenue changes are not expected in 2021–2026 when compared to landings and revenues in 2019. Therefore, adoption of the proposed specifications is not expected to have impacts on entities participating in the fishery if landings are similar to those that occurred in 2019. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Maintaining the suspension of the surfclam minimum shell length requirement would result in no change when compared to 2017–2020. The minimum shell length requirement has been suspended each year since 2005. The proposed action would have no impact on the way the fishery operates, and is not expected to disproportionately affect small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This proposed rule contains no information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: February 8, 2021. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2021–02984 Filed 2–16–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\17FEP1.SGM 17FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 30 (Wednesday, February 17, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 9901-9904]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-02984]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 210208-0016; RTID 0648-XX065]


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam 
and Ocean Quahog Fisheries; Proposed 2021-2026 Fishing Quotas

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS proposes status quo commercial quotas for the Atlantic 
surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries for 2021 and projected status quo 
quotas for 2022-2026. This action is necessary to establish allowable 
harvest levels of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs that will 
prevent overfishing and allow harvesting of optimum yield. This action 
would also continue to suspend the minimum shell size for Atlantic 
surfclams for the 2021 fishing year. The intended effect of this action 
is to provide benefit to the industry from stable quotas to maintain a 
consistent market.

DATES: Comments must be received by March 4, 2021.

ADDRESSES: An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for the 
surfclam and ocean quahog specifications. Copies of the EA are 
available on request from Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, 
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 North State 
Street, Dover, DE 19901. These documents are also accessible via the 
internet at https://www.mafmc.org.
    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-
2020-0152, by the following method:

[[Page 9902]]

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via 
the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
    1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2020-0152,
    2. Click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and
    3. Enter or attach your comments.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). If you are unable to submit your comment through 
www.regulations.gov, contact Laura Hansen, Fishery Management 
Specialist.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9225.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog 
Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires that NMFS, in consultation with 
the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, set quotas for surfclam 
and ocean quahog for up to a 3-year period. It is the policy of the 
Council that the catch limit allow for sustainable fishing to continue 
at that level for at least 10 years for surfclams, and 30 years for 
ocean quahogs. The Council policy also considers the economic impact of 
the quotas. Regulations implementing Amendment 10 to the FMP (63 FR 
27481; May 19, 1998) added Maine ocean quahogs (locally known as Maine 
mahogany quahogs) to the management unit and provided for a small 
artisanal fishery for ocean quahogs in the waters north of 43[deg]50' N 
lat. The Maine ocean quahog quota is allocated separately from the 
quota for the ocean quahog fishery. Regulations implementing Amendment 
13 to the FMP (68 FR 69970; December 16, 2003) established the ability 
to propose multi-year quotas with an annual quota review to be 
conducted by the Council to determine if the multi-year quota 
specifications remain appropriate for each year. NMFS then publishes 
the annual final quotas in the Federal Register. The fishing quotas 
must ensure overfishing will not occur. In recommending these quotas, 
the Council considered the most recent stock assessments, conducted in 
June 2020, and other relevant scientific information.
    In August 2020, the Council voted to maintain status quo quota 
levels of 5.36 million bushels (bu); 285 million Liters (L) for the 
ocean quahog fishery, 3.40 million bu (181 million L) for the Atlantic 
surfclam fishery, and 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L) for the Maine 
ocean quahog fishery for 2021-2026. The Council recommended that 
specifications be set for 2021 and proposed for years 2022-2026 to 
create administrative efficiencies as a result of the new stock 
assessment process, which is expected to assess surfclam and ocean 
quahog on a 4 and 6 year cycle, respectively.
    The regulations at 50 CFR 648.72(a) allow for setting of sections 
for up to 3 years. Through this action, we would only set 2021 
specifications and include the projected specifications for 2022-2026 
to inform the public. The Council approved a regulatory change in the 
Excessive Shares Amendment that would allow us to set specifications 
for the maximum number of years needed to be consistent with the 
Northeast Region Coordinating Council-approved stock assessment 
schedule, which currently anticipates assessments for both stocks every 
6 years. Although the FMP currently authorizes specifications to be set 
for multiple years, we are still required to publish a final rule each 
year to formally set the specifications for the coming year. We expect 
the timing change in the Amendment will be implemented within the next 
year, well before years 4 and 5 (fishing years 2025 and 2026) are 
finalized. However, if for some reason the Amendment is not approved, 
the Council would adopt new specifications for 2025 and 2026.
    The proposed and projected quotas for the 2021-2026 Atlantic 
surfclam and ocean quahog fishery are shown in Tables 1 and 2.

                                                 Table 1--Proposed Atlantic Surfclam Measures 2021-2026
                                                                  [2022-2026 Projected]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Allowable
                                            biological     Annual catch    Annual catch
                  Year                      catch (ABC)     limit (ACL)    target (ACT)                          Commercial quota
                                               (mt)            (mt)            (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Atlantic Surfclam
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2021....................................          47,919          47,919          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
2022....................................          44,522          44,522          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
2023....................................          42,237          42,237          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
2024....................................          40,946          40,946          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
2025....................................          40,345          40,345          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
2026....................................          40,264          40,264          29,363  3.4 million bushels (181 million L).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                                    Table 2--Proposed Ocean Quahog Measures 2021-2026
                                                                  [2022-2026 Projected]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Allowable
                                            biological     Annual catch    Annual catch
                  Year                      catch (ABC)     limit (ACL)    target (ACT)                          Commercial quota
                                               (mt)            (mt)            (mt)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2021....................................          44,031          44,031          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).

[[Page 9903]]

 
2022....................................          44,072          44,072          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).
2023....................................          44,082          44,082          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).
2024....................................          44,065          44,065          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).
2025....................................          44,020          44,020          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).
2026....................................          43,948          43,948          25,924  Maine quota: 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L); Non-Maine
                                                                                           quota: 5.36 million bu (285 million L).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog quotas are specified in 
``industry'' bushels of 1.88 cube feet (ft\3\) (53.24 L) per bushel, 
while the Maine ocean quahog quota is specified in Maine bushels of 
1.24 ft\3\ (35.24 L) per bushel. Because Maine ocean quahogs are the 
same species as ocean quahogs, both fisheries are assessed under the 
same overfishing definition. When the two quota amounts (ocean quahog 
and Maine ocean quahog) are added, the total allowable harvest is below 
the level that would result in overfishing for the entire stock. The 
2021-2026 quotas are the same as those implemented in the 2018-2020 
specifications.

Surfclam

    The proposed 2021-2026 status quo surfclam quotas were developed 
after reviewing the results of the management track stock assessment 
for Atlantic surfclam, conducted in June 2020. The surfclam quota 
recommendation is consistent with the assessment finding that the 
Atlantic surfclam stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not 
occurring. Based on this information, the Council is recommending, and 
we are proposing, to maintain the status quo surfclam quota of 3.40 
million bu (181 million L) for 2021-2026.

Ocean Quahog

    As with surfclams, the proposed 2021-2026 status quo ocean quahog 
quotas were developed after reviewing the results of the management 
track stock assessment for ocean quahogs, conducted in June 2020. The 
ocean quahog quota is consistent with the assessment finding that the 
ocean quahog stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. 
Consistent with the Council recommendation, we are proposing the 
following for ocean quahog. The proposed 2021-2026 non-Maine quota for 
ocean quahog is the status quo quota of 5.36 million bu (285 million 
L). The 2021-2026 proposed quota for Maine ocean quahogs is the status 
quo level of 100,000 Maine bu (3.52 million L), which represents the 
maximum allowable quota under the FMP.

Surfclam Minimum Size

    In August 2020, the Council voted to recommend that the minimum 
size limit for surfclams continue to be suspended for 2021. The minimum 
size limit has been suspended annually since 2005. Minimum size 
suspension may not be taken unless discard, catch, and biological 
sampling data indicate that 30 percent or more of the Atlantic surfclam 
resource have a shell length less than 4.75 inches (120 millimeters 
(mm)), and the overall reduced size is not attributable to harvest from 
beds where growth of the individual clams has been reduced because of 
density-dependent factors.
    Commercial surfclam data for 2020 were analyzed to determine the 
percentage of surfclams that were smaller than the minimum size 
requirement. The analysis indicated that 11 percent of the overall 
commercial landings, to date, were composed of surfclams that were less 
than the 4.75-inch (120-mm) default minimum size. Based on the 
information available, the Regional Administrator concurs with the 
Council's recommendation, and is proposing to suspend the minimum size 
limit for Atlantic surfclams in the upcoming fishing year (January 1 
through December 31, 2021).

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog 
FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable 
law, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This action is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for this certification is as follows.
    A complete description of the specifications, why they are being 
considered, and the legal basis for proposing and implementing 
specifications for the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries are 
contained in the preamble to this proposed rule.
    The measures proposed by this action apply to surfclam and ocean 
quahog allocation owners. These are the individuals or entities that 
received initial individual transferable quota (ITQ) allocations (i.e., 
owners of record) at the beginning of each fishing year. There were 64 
allocation owners of record for surfclam and 33 for ocean quahog in 
2019.
    Of the 64 initial surfclam allocation owners of record for 2019, 19 
were categorized as ``Commercial Fishing,''

[[Page 9904]]

with 100 percent of them classified as small entities. Of the 9 
allocation owners that were categorized as ``Fish and Seafood Merchant 
Wholesalers,'' 1 was classified as a small entity (11 percent) and 8 
were classified as large entities (89 percent). Eight allocations 
owners were categorized as ``Commercial Banking,'' 1 was classified as 
a small entity (12 percent), and 7 classified as large entities (88 
percent). Six allocations were categorized as ``Credit Unions,'' with 
100 percent of them classified as large entities. There were also 5 
allocations categorized as ``Sector 92'' (Public Administration 
sector); therefore, small business size standards are not applicable 
for these 5 allocation owners. Lastly, the (SBA)classification for 17 
surfclam allocation owners was unknown.
    Of the 33 initial ocean quahog allocation owners of record for 
2019, 14 were categorized as ``Commercial Fishing,'' with 100 percent 
of them classified as small entities. Of the six allocation owners that 
were categorized as ``Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers,'' two were 
classified as small entities (33 percent) and 4 were classified as 
large entities (67 percent). One allocation owner was categorized as 
``Commercial Banking'' and 1 categorized as ``Credit Unions'' with 100 
percent of them classified as large entities. The SBA classification 
for the remaining allocations owners is unknown.
    The proposed quotas are status quo. As a result, this action will 
have no impacts on the way the fishery operates. These measures are 
expected to provide similar fishing opportunities when compared to 
earlier years. Additionally, the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries, 
including the Maine quahog fishery, have harvested well below their 
respective quota allocations for several years. As such, revenue 
changes are not expected in 2021-2026 when compared to landings and 
revenues in 2019. Therefore, adoption of the proposed specifications is 
not expected to have impacts on entities participating in the fishery 
if landings are similar to those that occurred in 2019.
    Maintaining the suspension of the surfclam minimum shell length 
requirement would result in no change when compared to 2017-2020. The 
minimum shell length requirement has been suspended each year since 
2005. The proposed action would have no impact on the way the fishery 
operates, and is not expected to disproportionately affect small 
entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is 
not required and none has been prepared.
    This proposed rule contains no information collection requirements 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 8, 2021.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-02984 Filed 2-16-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P